Saint Paul Public Library to launch new Mobile Library in May

The brand-new traveling library will provide expanded, enhanced services to neighborhoods across the city

Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) today announced it is unveiling a new, state-of-the-art Mobile Library in May to replace its well-loved Bookmobile that spent more than 19 years traversing all corners of the city. The Mobile Library will provide new and expanded services based on community feedback, including access to mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi, and referrals to community resources and notary services.

“One of the best parts of my job is seeing how happy people get when we visit,” said Mobile Library Manager Savitri Santhiran. “For many residents, the vehicle’s visit is their only public library experience, which is why it was so important to incorporate their feedback into upgrading the new Mobile Library with additional services you typically can only find in library buildings. Our new, dynamic vehicle will serve as even more of a critical community resource.”

The Mobile Library—slated to arrive in Saint Paul by early April—will be more accessible, efficient, and will better reflect Saint Paul’s rich diversity by offering books in multiple languages and displaying vibrant art. In addition to a revolving collection of books for borrowing, residents will also be able to participate in ever-changing programming for all ages and connect with a digital navigator to answer technology-related questions and get access to broadband internet. The vehicle will also be wrapped with original artwork created by local community artist Emma Eubanks.

"As someone who grew up in Saint Paul and spent a lot of time enjoying the many titles and programs offered through its library on wheels, I’m thrilled to be a part of bringing the Mobile Library's special magic to life," Eubanks said. "I depicted the countless services residents will find in the new Mobile Library in a way that evokes the exploration, sense of wonder, and possibilities for discovery that are waiting for them inside. I can’t wait to see the vehicle out on the road delivering the same joy that helped shape my life!"

With the new vehicle offering more library services to the community, the name will change from Bookmobile to Mobile Library. The new name better reflects the breadth of service that is offered through the vehicle. It is also a more accessible name for people visiting the vehicle's stops, including newcomers to our city and people whose first language is not English.

The new Mobile Library is expected to be fully operational and ready to hit Saint Paul streets in early May. Services currently offered through the existing vehicle will pause beginning March 31 as library staff transition from the old vehicle to the new. Staff will provide some interim delivery services to specific existing stops. Residents are encouraged to continue accessing library services through their nearest brick and mortar SPPL neighborhood library.

“The Bookmobile has served as an important connector for thousands of Saint Paul children, individuals, and families to access critical library resources and information,” said Saint Paul Public Library Deputy Director of Public Services Rebecca Ryan. “Our brand-new Mobile Library will continue this legacy through additional inclusive services and materials to fully reflect the evolution of libraries and the deep value they provide to our community.”

A community celebration and ribbon-cutting for the new Mobile Library is being planned for late spring. Stay tuned for celebration updates by subscribing to the library’s regular email newsletters.

Support for the Mobile Library is provided by the City of Saint Paul’s general fund, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, Comcast, and HealthPartners.